Early on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Patricia “is likely to become” the next Lions coach. But with such passive language, some weren’t convinced.
However, MMQB’s Albert Breer added another report on Sunday night to pretty much close the door on any more speculation:
Per sources, Lions have informed other candidates they’ve been eliminated from the search, moving forward with the expectation Matt Patricia will be their head coach when the Patriots season ends. So that job is officially off the board.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2018
Though you’re not technically allowed to come to an agreement with a coach while they’re still in the playoff hunt, it’s something that has happened several times in league history. Just last year, the 49ers had clearly come up with some sort of backdoor deal to make then Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan the new head coach, even though Atlanta was still in the playoffs.
So even though a deal may not be done on paper, by telling the other candidates the job is off the market, it’s a pretty definitive sign the Lions and Patricia have come to an agreement.